George M. Whitesides

George McClelland Whitesides ( born August 3, 1939 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American chemist and professor of chemistry at Harvard University. Whitesides was known for his work in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, organometallic chemistry, molecular self-assembly and nanotechnology.


Whitesides attended secondary school, Phillips Andover, from which he graduated in 1957. He made 1960 his bachelor's degree at Harvard University and his doctorate in 1964 at the California Institute of Technology. Under the guidance of John D. Roberts is Whitesides focused on the study of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in organic chemistry. Among other things, he studied spin -spin coupling in a variety of organic materials and the structure of Grignard reagents in solution.

Whitesides began his career in 1963 as an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and remained there until 1982. He was 1969-1971 Associate Professor, 1971-1975, Professor, 1975-1980 Arthur C. Cope Professor and from 1980 to 1982 Haslam and Professor Dewey. During his time at MIT, he played a crucial role in the development of the Corey -House- Posner - Whitesides reaction. 1982 Whitesides went to Harvard University. He was chairman of the chemistry faculty (1986-1989), Dean of the Faculty (1989-1992) and Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry ( 1986-2004 ).

Since 2004, Whitesides holds the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers professorship at Harvard. His working group includes over 35 doctoral students. According to the biography on his Web site includes current research Whitesides ' physical and organic chemistry, materials science, biophysics, complexity and emergence, surface science, microfluidics, optics, self -assembly, micro - and nanotechnology, science for developing countries, catalysis, energy production and storage, the origin of a life, the rational development of drugs that cell-surface biochemistry, simplicity and info chemistry ". The primary objective of his work is to " change the paradigm of science fundamentally ". About his scientific research also Whitesides is also active politically and in various committees. He was active among others in the advisory committees for the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Defense Department. Whitesides is the author of more than 950 scientific articles and holds 50 patents. He is one of the most cited chemists. Whitesides is co-founder of twelve companies with a combined market capitalization of over 20 billion U.S. dollars, including Genzyme, GelTex, Theravance, Surface logix, Nano -Terra, and WMR Biomedical. Whitesides has supervised more than 300 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

He is member of the editorial advisory board of several scientific journals, including Angewandte Chemie. Whitesides has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science (1998), the Kyoto Prize in Materials Science and Engineering (2003), the Dan David Prize (2005) and the Welch Award in Chemistry ( 2005).

Whitesides is married to Barbara Breasted and has two children: George Thomas and Benjamin Haile.